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    CLIENT HELD ACCOUNTABLE FOR SAFETY OF CONTRACTOR

    Major food company prosecuted over two fall from height incidents

    Jas Bowman and Sons Ltd has been ordered to pay over £60k in fines and prosecution costs after two workers were seriously injured in separate incidents at its UK manufacturing base in Hertfordshire.

    The first incident in July 2009 involved a company maintenance engineer who fell whilst cleaning product from inside an elevated conveyor. 

    One year later an electrical contractor fell down a lift shaft while carrying out maintenance work on second floor lift door whilst following instructions from the client. He fractured his skull and was off work for 18 months as a result of his injuries.

    Lessons should have been learned from earlier incident

    Jas Bowman and Sons Ltd, of Ickleford Mill, Ickleford, pleaded guilty of two breaches of the Work at Height Regulations 2005 and two breaches of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974. The company was fined £40,000 and ordered to pay £20,282 in costs.

    Stevenage Magistrates’ Court heard (27 November) that HSE investigators identified serious failings with the work not being properly planned, supervised or carried out in a safe manner.

    After the hearing, HSE Inspector Graham Tompkins commented:

    “These were both serious incidents in their own right, but coupled together they provide a worrying picture. Lessons should have been learned from the first incident, however, the safety of workers continued to be compromised.

    This culminated with the fall of the electrical sub contractor, which was entirely preventable and should have been avoided. He could easily have been killed and I hope the severity of that incident and today’s prosecution serves as a final wake-up call.”

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